Disney has roared back to life after a nearly dormant year and a half with “Black Widow,” and the stakes are high.
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The coronavirus pandemic put a freeze on releases of major films – save for Warner Bros.’ “Tenet,” which had a poor theatrical run – “Black Widow” among them. The film was originally slated for a May 1, 2020, release, but its date was pushed back several times.
This time around, the film officially drops in the U.S. on July 9 in theaters and on Disney+ for an extra fee.
FOX Business takes a look at the buzz around “Black Widow” and the key numbers.
Who is Black Widow?
The film is set to be a big bounce-back for the box office, especially if numbers from “F9” are any indication – though “In the Heights” was expected to be a big hit and surprisingly fumbled in theaters.
DISNEY’S ‘BLACK WIDOW’ SETS STAGE FOR POSSIBLE CLASH WITH THEATERS
The film centers on Scarlett Johansson‘s Natasha Romanoff, aka the Black Widow, a super spy who teamed up with various other heroes, like Iron Man, and Thor on various occasions.
This particular film is set in the past and sees Romanoff return to her makeshift family to help them take down a threat while facing her past.
Johannson has now appeared as the character in nine films, including “Black Widow” and an uncredited cameo in “Captain Marvel.”
Black Widow Box Office Gold or Poison?
Predictions for how the film will perform are difficult due to the day-and-date release in theaters and on Disney+, notes The Hollywood Reporter, though the Mouse House is hoping to hit $80 million this weekend.
This would give “Black Widow” the biggest pandemic-era box office launch, putting it $10 million ahead of “F9,” which premiered June 25.
The expected range for the picture’s first three days stretches to $110 million, according to Box Office Pro.
The film could also be a win for AMC as the theater chain battles back from the pandemic.
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As many Marvel movies have already, “Black Widow” was considered likely to join the billion-dollar club had it been released under normal circumstances. Overall, the outlet predicts that domestically “Black Widow” will earn between $205 million and $310 million.
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Both predictions have risen 11% since last week’s count.
Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Female’ Star Power
Scarlett Johansson’s star power is certainly a draw as well thanks to its standing as one of only a handful of female-led superhero movies in recent years.
The actress’s net worth sits at around $56 million, according to Forbes, and The Numbers reports that as a leading actress, she’s brought in $1,417,315,775, with higher numbers as a leading ensemble member, such as box office juggernaut “Avengers: Endgame.”
In fact, the two-time Oscar nominee’s net worth sits only $10 million below that of Marvel darling Robert Downey Jr., per Forbes. The Numbers puts his leading box office numbers higher than Johansson’s at about $2,460,320,068.
However, the “Black Widow” cast boasts several other household-name stars, like Rachel Weisz, David Harbour and Florence Pugh, who could prove to be a draw as well.
Disney’s Cash Cow: Marvel
The movie is an important one for Disney, as it’s the first Marvel film to hit theaters since “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” which debuted in July 2019. However, Disney+ has seen the launch of three Marvel shows – “WandaVision,” “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” and “Loki” – with a fourth coming in August.
This year, the studio is set to release three other films: “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” in September, “Eternals” in November and “Spider-Man: No Way Home” in December.
The budget for “Black Widow” was about $200 million, per Variety.
Additionally, the flick could help boost Disney’s stock, which is down 4% this year.
Still, Disney CEO Bob Chapek is confident that the movie will satisfy fans for years to come.
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“We’ve got 8,000 characters that we have to mine and you’d say, well, 8,000 characters, who knows what these 8,000 characters are?” he said at the Credit Suisse 23rd Annual Communications Conference in June. “But remember that all of our Avengers, for example, our Avengers characters, where we made the acquisition, weren’t exactly household names, take Loki for example, Loki was the most watched season premier, ever on Disney+ during its opening week. And no one knew who Loki was, even when we started — that started on this journey on Marvel, no one knew who Iron Man was, or Wanda or Vision or Falcon or the Winter Soldiers, Black Widow, Shang-Chi, nobody knew who these characters were. They certainly know them now” said Chapek at the Credit Suisse 23rd Annual Communications Conference earlier this month.